“We are training each other in acts of communication we barely understand.“
In this piece the protagonist is nor a professional dancer nor an actor, but a non-trained animal – the donkey Balthazar. He is confronted with a group of human performers who involve him in choreographies and stories. The piece emerges from this live and active communication between the species.
The human performers try to grasp the animal by constructing meaningful narratives, movements, gestures, and images. But the animal undercuts constantly this attempt to define him and pulls the performers and the performance into a process of becoming-animal. Naturally, the untrained animal never fully behaves according to the artistic intention. The fragile communication with the donkey requires a fine sense for the responses and propositions (or even demands) of such an unequal and unpredictable stage partner.
Balthazar puts the spectator in a weird position: The performance seduces us into identifying with the animal, fully knowing that our projections can only be: inadequate. We may assume that the donkey is complying with the performance, that Balthazar is participating in the piece, that the animal develops it further using artistic means. The point is: We don’t know! And we never will.
Balthazar is a longterm artistic research project by theatre maker David Weber-Krebs and dramaturg and theorist Maximilian Haas that explores our cultural relationship with animals using the means of theater.
concept & direction David Weber-Krebs
concept & dramaturgy Maximilian Haas
performance Julien Bruneau, Alondra Castellanos Arreola, Philipp Enders, Sid Van Oerle, Noha Ramadan
costumes Ebba Fransén Waldhör
space advice Alexander Schellow
production Elisabeth Hirner/Infinite Endings
co-production HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Next Festival, Inteatro, Mousonturm.
download the press kit here.